Nature’s solace

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hOn Sunday, my soul was aching from the events in Paris and the sad state of our world and guided by Wendell Berry’s poem, ” The Peace of Wild Things,” I turned to nature for some solace. I set off in the morning cold, half-heartedly plodding along my chosen route, mittened hands bunched in my pockets. Autumn’s flash of brilliance has faded here and there’s a dull patina of ash brown across the land. Even with a blue sky above, everything looked and felt muted.

My mind wandered as I walked and initially, the scenery unfolded around me unseen. I was lost in thought, weighted with sadness, ignoring my surroundings. Suddenly, red flashed and a cardinal darted to the tip-top branches of a leaf-stripped tree. He postured a bit and then flitted away, a splash of brilliance in the morning sky.  His quick visit jarred me from my reverie, shifted my focus, redirecting it outward, back to the world that surrounded me. I began to pay attention.

DSCN3953I continued on my walk, taking note of frost rimed leaves, the rustle of skittering squirrels and chipmunks, varied bird song and the colorful skirts of windfall apples spread at the base of trees.  Further down the road laden branches bent and their bounty of plump crimson berries dangled before a building glowing in the early morning sunlight. Vibrant. Saturated. Intense. A visual feast.

At my turn around spot I stopped to admire the sheer perfection of reflection in the still waters. Serene. Tranquil. Isn’t it a wonder to see vaprous clouds captured in liquid water?


DSCN3947On my route toward home, burst milkweed pods with tumbling gossamer strands lay adjacent to the road. Ice crystals lightly coated their dessicated hulls, but a few valiant seeds still poised for flight, their silky filaments awaiting a timely breeze to waft them toward fresh soil.  And in a nearby field, frost winked in the sunlight, setting the field dancing with vivid, sparkling flashes. DSCN3950


Close to home yet another flicker of movement caught my eye. I stopped. A solitary bird had flown to a quaint birdhouse, silhouetted against autumnal leaves. She pushed her way in and moments later, poked her head out of the house, clasping debris in her beak, and tossing it away so that it scattered to the ground.  She did this over and over again, with occasional flights to a nearby tree to disperse materials there. Such an industrious little bird, cleaning house on a brisk fall day. I was transfixed.  Somehow that purposeful little bird, diligently putting its world into order, soothed me. Who knew such delight could be found watching a nuthatch busily cleaning out a birdhouse?  I stood and watched and watched. When I finally pulled away, the birdhouse must have been almost empty and my steps toward home were just a bit lighter.



Nature does offer sweet rewards when I pay attention.  There is always beauty to see in our world and heading out into the woods or down a country road can serve as a balm when one is steeped in despair. Though my soul still weeps for this torn and tattered world, to paraphrase Berry, ‘for a short time that morning I rested in the grace of the world, and was free.’


10 thoughts on “Nature’s solace

  1. Kimberley says:

    Noticing the world around us is so critical to finding our place in it. Thank you for sharing your world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing this slice! I, too, have been struggling with the world. This brought me some peace and inspired me to look for my own solace in nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautifully written and illustrated with your photos. I am always able to find peace on my walks. The timeless cycle of nature is a balm to my soul especially when the world is hard to understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tara Smith says:

    “There is always beauty to see in our world and heading out into the woods or down a country road can serve as a balm when one is steeped in despair. Though my soul still weeps for this torn and tattered world, to paraphrase Berry, ‘for a short time that morning I rested in the grace of the world, and was free.’”
    This made me ant to weep – thanks for sharing this thoughtful post on a day when I find myself despairing for our world.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hannah says:

    Thank you for the solace of YOUR words, Molly. xo HannahR

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Linda Baie says:

    Thank you for sharing ‘the grace of the world’ with us. I enjoyed seeing what you saw, beauty always. The story of that little nuthatch is sweet solace, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. newtreemom says:

    Solace and beauty- thank you. Especially loved “crimson berries dangling before a building glowing in the morning sunlight.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Such a beautiful post! I loved the Wendel Berry poem. I will add that one to my notebook. Thanks too, for the sensory journey through your walk in one of my favorite places in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. To “rest in the grace of the world” is such a gift. I love the image you paint of that “industrious little bird” and the “tumbling gossamer strands” of milkweed. Thank you for sharing these beautiful, tranquil moments with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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